1. 30 Days of Night
Based on the amazing comic written by Steve Niles, with art by a personal favorite of mine, Ben Templesmith, this adaptation by David Slade makes vampires scary again. They don’t want to be sensual with you, they want to rip your throat out like a feral dog, and drink as much of your blood as they can. Highly stylized, and with a truly unnerving score, it even manages to make Josh Hartnett seem bad ass.
2. Stake Land
A road trip/western/horror hybrid. (Some could argue it isn’t a western, but it struck me as having elements of one, much in the same way the original Die Hard does.) Much like The Road, but we actually get to see cannibals, and vampires. It’s a great ride, staking, and avoiding getting eaten.
3. The Hunger
Directed by the late great Tony Scott, Ridley’s brother, with a script by Ivan Davis and Michael Thomas, based on a novel by Whitley Streiber, this 80s film is erotic, lavish, and has David Bowie in it, along with a live performance of Bela Lugosi’s Dead by goth idols, Bauhaus. It’s steamy.
4. Let The Right One In (Swedish)
Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay, and directed by Tomas Alfredson, this is a cute vampire film. Yet, there are also some truly unsettling, subtly scary scenes, particularly a scene at the end of the film which takes place near a pool. Please see the Swedish version before the American one. They are entirely different beasts.
5. Livid (French)
From Inside directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, I’m sorry to say that by putting the film on this list, it is actually a spoiler. However, the film is so whimsical, and has such disturbing imagery, it isn’t solely a vampire film. More like a deranged fairy tale that happens to have vampires in it. Only thing is, it seems to only be available in the UK right now. At least according to Amazon. And to me, as that’s how I had to get it. Hopefully it gets US distribution soon.
6. Cronos (Mexican)
Guillermo Del Toro’s first film. A strange device with an ancient bug inside transforms an old man into a vampire. There’s a great scene where he licks blood of the tile of a bathroom floor.
7. Thirst (Korean)
Directed by Chan-Wook Park, this flick is also kind of cute. Screenplay by Chan-Wook and Seo-Gyeong Jeong, it was inspired by the book Thérèse Raquin by Emile Zola, which I’ve never heard of; but then I’m only one man, I can’t know everything. Some fun fast running scenes in this one.
8. Blade 1 and 2
Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson. That’s all you need to know. Second one was directed by Del Toro, first by Stephen Norrington. Both scripts by David S. Goyer.
You do not know who you are F-----G WITH!
9. Dracula (1992)
My favorite Dracula. Francis Ford Coppola takes a turn at horror, with visually stunning results. Gary Oldman is the best Dracula.
10. Dracula: Dead and Loving It
Leslie Nielsen is the second best Dracula. One of Mel Brook’s overlooked gems, much as High Anxiety is.